Minneapolis Public School board members heard feedback Tuesday on their concerns regarding the district’s impending budget vote.
The district is set to vote on the budget in June, following a $28 million budget gap that has led district leaders to make cuts. School board members heard the first reading of the budget proposal Tuesday.
Superintendent Ed Graff, who took over in 2016, said the district is working to keep cuts away from the classroom while maintaining an equity agenda.
“These cuts are painful and they are also inevitable,” Graff said.
More than 100 people packed the boardroom Tuesday. Unlike two recent board meetings, this one did not have protesters loudly demanding to be heard.
In late April, protesters argued that teachers of color were being pushed out in recent layoffs. The board passed a resolution that would rehire most of those laid off and give job recommendations for others.
Principals at a subsequent meeting voiced their disappointment with the board’s action.
On Tuesday, students, principals and custodians addressed the board.
Several Roosevelt High School custodians arrived to speak against the district’s plan to cut back from about 100 engineers-in-charge and assistant engineers to about 15 “physical plant operators.”
“If you laid off 86 people, who would run the building?” asked Ernie Gonzales, engineer in charge at the high school.
Others argued that cutting so many custodial and engineer positions would affect safety and cleanliness at the district’s schools.
During the public comment period, students in the district weighed in on the district’s upcoming decision on its school resource officer contract. The contract is set to expire in June. Students lined up to argue against keeping the officers in schools.
Graff said he did not want the cuts to get to the point where the district is unable to function, adding that the district needs to be sustainable.
“We are really facing challenging times right now,” Graff said.